Home Caulerpa (aka MacroAlgae)

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Caulerpa (aka MacroAlgae) PDF Print E-mail

Caulerpa (aka MacroAlgae)

Caulerpa sp.is a group of saltwater plants within the larger grouping of Macro-algaes. Unlike the hair algae monster, these plants can be good for your aquarium.

As Caulerpas grow, they will remove many of the excess nutrients that hair algaes use to grow. So Caulerpa competes with hair algae for the same food source. And once established, caulerpas can often out compete the hair algae, thereby helping to control it.

These macroalgaes can often be purchased inexpensively from most coral farms.

Illegal in some States

Some states have outlawed the use of Macro algaes because hobbyists have released them into the wild and caused an invasion of a non native species. Its very important not to do this.

Our farm does not sell Caulerpas to anyone ordering from certain states where it is illegal, such as California. They were outlawed there because they had a problem with people flushing these types of macro algaes out into the sewer systems and then out into the waterways.

Most waterways eventually lead to the ocean, and in California, they had a massive outbreak of Caulerpa taxifolia. They had to spend a lot of time and money eradicating it. All likely because a careless hobbyist flushed his plant down the toilet.

So it's very important that can never release anything into the wild that is not native to that area.

They also currently have a similar serious situation in the Mediterranean Sea, where C. taxifolia has taken over many square kilometers of the Mediterranean Sea and outcompeted many of the other sessille (non-moving, attached) organisms there. It is really sad and there's a lot of conjecture and accusations aabout where that originated, but the bottom line is somehow that non-native species was released into the area and has wreaked havoc on that ecosystem.

Caulerpa and Mudfilters

Usually caulerpa should not be grown in the reef tank itself. Many corals don't like it growing on them. The ideal place is in the sump. Often it is grown on top of the deep ocean mud in a mud filter.

Because caulerpa and hair algae compete for the same nutrients, often times if you get a good growth of macro algae they can outcompete the micro hair algae and help to kill it.

24 hour Photoperiod

We actually keep our Caulerpa on a 24 hour photoperiod, meaning the lights are never turned off over these sumps. Even though its been reported that some Caulerpas can "go to seed" when the lights are off, and rapidly re-pollute your tank, we have never had this happen when the lights are kept on. Obviously you don't want to exposed your marinelife to 24 hour light, so you would need to keep the plants separately in a sump or area that the light can be shielded.

Light Bulbs

As for lighting, we just use 2-40 watt shops bulbs, the cheap Home Depot kind. Caulerpa don't seem to need the same intensity or spectrum that your coral tank does, so don't waste your money.

Chaeto is the best filtering plant

Our favorite marine plant for removing wastes is actually a brillo lilke plant called Chaeto. Check it out.

Caulerpa can grow quite rapidly, as long as something is not limiting its growth. In the open oceans, the element Iron is the limiting factor. But we don't recommend adding it as it can quickly cause a massive growth spurt.

Helps with pH Balancing

Another great advantage to having a Caulerpa filled sump is that it tends to balance out your pH. At night, your pH usually goes down, as CO2 builds up. But the plants in the sump can use this CO2 and help minimize a drop in the pH of the tank above it.

A word of caution. If your caulerpa starts to die off, don't leave it in your system. A die off will release many of the pollutants that it took in when it was growing. So if you do get a die off, pull the caulerpa out. If it is turning pale and clear, its on its way out

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 19:29
 
 

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